10 Traditional Practices to Start Now
Hello and welcome back to our corner of the Internet!
Today was an absolute flurry of activity. I took a nice drive in the sun, spent some time in my flower beds, helped my husband with our chores, and enjoyed sitting in the sun. Harley and I went for a walk, I wrote a script to film for tomorrow, and I even reorganized my linen closet! So much success!
But as I was working on all of these activities today, I felt like it was time to head over to the blog and share some weekly tips for ya'll. This week we're talking about traditional living, as inspired by a comment on my most recent blog post (thanks Chrissy!) I hope you enjoy!
1. Baking & cooking from scratch
I began doing this when I wanted to have more control over what I was ingesting into my body. Everything was transferred over to the "only if I can bake it from scratch" category. I decided that if I wanted to eat crackers, I would make them from scratch, and if I wanted to eat a bagel, I would make those from scratch too! Everything that could be made from scratch was GOING to be made from scratch.
Not only did I have a lot of fun learning new recipes, but I've also been able to cut out SO many weird preservatives out of my diet. We've saved a ton of money, developed taste buds for fresher food, and are officially over eating processed foods. Wins all around!
2. Canning, preserving, smoking, & drying
Now, I am an absolute NEWBIE to canning and preserving, but my husband is an expert smoker. He smokes and dries the venison from his hunting season to make jerky, and takes it to work with him as a snack. Growing up, my mum always preserved peaches, made apple sauce, and always always always made strawberry jam, all from scratch! It's my goal to get into canning and preserving this year, but I absolutely think this is a traditional practice we all need to get good at NOW! Imagine if we had pantries stocked full of our own jars of preserved and canned foods, dried fruits, smoked meats... ugh... SO AMAZING!
3. Mending, altering, & sewing
I could harp on for hours about the importance of sewing, so I will just leave it to a few quick sentences: firstly, sewing is amazing because it helps you extend the life of your clothing. Secondly, it allows you to alter your clothing to look amazing, OR alter inexpensive thrifted clothing to fit perfectly. And finally, it's a wonderful hobby and past-time that you can get SO much joy out of. Creativity abounds!
4. Natural beauty
As we are learning from this pandemic, many of our beauty practices are NOT self-sustaining. My best advice is to grow out your natural hair color, embrace your natural nails, and say hello to your natural lashes. I'm not necessarily against enhancing our beauty through artificial devices like nails or lash extensions, but I think it's pretty clear in these pandemic times that those babies are NOT built to last. Maybe in the future, try going a little more natural and traditional with your beauty, and when our next pandemic or world crisis hits, you'll be looking gorgeous the whole time.
5. Old fashioned games & entertainment
Old fashioned games and entertainment are an amazing way to pass the time without relying too much on screens. Learning how to entertain ourselves without screens is HARD, but it can be done. My husband strums guitar, I like to read, and we will play cards together. We work on chores together, listen to the radio, and play with our dog.
Even just sitting outside in the sun, sipping coffee, and watching the squirrels while we chat about current events can be a lovely way to pass an afternoon. I find myself particularly entertained by writing, cleaning, organizing, doing my hair different ways, or by assembling different outfits together. It kind of reminds me how parents want their kids to "play without screens." So, challenge yourself and learn how to PLAY without screens! No Netflix, social media, or Internet to entertain you for at least PART of the day... trust me... your eyes and brain will thank you.
6. Gardening & yard work
Adopting a garden is a fantastic way to become more self-sustainable AND traditional. It's lovely to have your own yard, and making it beautiful is a wonderful way to pass the time, get in the sun, and get in touch with the art and science of growing your own food, flowers, or even your own shrubbery! We spend a lot of time doing yard work, and I truly believe it's a total workout, mentally AND physically.
7. Nature hikes & walking
I've been harping about the benefits of longs walks since beginning my channel, and I have to say that these past few weeks, the amount of people I pass on the sidewalk has TRIPLED. Everyone is out enjoying a stroll, getting those legs moving, and seeing the sights! It's amazing! If only we could be in Jane Austen's time, roaming the English hillsides, straddling over fences, and thinking about our beloveds. Sigh.
8. Reading & writing
Reading is an incredible way to expand your vocabulary, and writing is an incredible way to FLEX that vocabulary. The great thing about reading and writing is that you don't have to be particularly talented at either in order to do them. And I don't know if anyone told you this, but you can read WHATEVER your heart desires; auto-biographies, comedy, science-fiction, ROMANCE... the world of literature is your oyster! I promise you... you can find SOMETHING you like to read. You just have to figure yourself out. I prefer romantic chick lit, autobiographies, YA dystopian novels, sci-fi, and ensemble comedy novels. So good.
And as far as writing, I imagine that it would be incredibly healthy if everyone in the world spent time writing about their thoughts and lives. Writing helps us process our lives without having to depend 100% on talking to other people. It's wonderful to read back about your life, and even better to record what you are experiencing.
I think we're all learning in this pandemic that the art of conversation is a key component to life. With all these Zoom calls, Whatsapp chats, and Facetime calls, it seems that the world is relying on the art of conversation more than ever. But there are ways to ENHANCE your conversations and to make them much more interesting for both parties.
Firstly, do not rely on gossip to sustain a conversation. Not only will you not learn more about the person you're speaking to (other than the fact that they can't be trusted,) but you will also be taking part in hurting someone else! No, no, no. Use your conversations to discuss current events, share stories, reflect on memories, or to express hopes and desires. Debate your opinions on various subjects, serious or silly, and in general, enjoy the spar!
10. Sustainable living
Alright, this point is all about sustainable and FRUGAL living. There are a myriad of ways to approach this, but just start with the basics. Set up your gutters so that you can have a rain barrel to collect rain water. Introduce a compost pile to your backyard for extra garden fertilizer, and consider how you can get around more on a bicycle or by walking instead of driving everywhere. Set up a clothesline in your backyard to dry your sheets, and consider setting up a vegetable patch! Re-use the containers that your products come in, and try to take a cloth bag with you when you shop instead of relying on plastic bags.
Wash your ziploc bags and use them again, or maybe only use Tupperware or glass containers for leftovers! Switch over and away from paper products; use cloth napkins, rags instead of paper towels, and NEVER purchase disposable dishes. Re-wear your clothing as much as possible by restyling it in different ways, and try to not waste water by letting it run when you're doing dishes or brushing your teeth. And, maybe even get chickens! We recently went in on some chickens with our good friends, and it has been an incredible experience to see them grow! Soon they will be free-ranging and laying eggs, ready for us to eat fresh! Yum!
Alright, that is all I have for you today my love! I hope you feel inspired to get out there and live more traditionally! This pandemic has taken so much of our normal lives away from us, and I really hope that you use this time to consider what parts of that "normal" are worth returning to.